These stories define us as a great country – a melting pot of diversity and cultural opportunity. Each story comes from a different time and place, each with its own set of challenges.
My personal story began with one particular immigrant. Referring to America as, “the land of possibility and potential,” he and his wife arrived from Colombia to the Bronx New York in 1963 to pursue his dream of becoming a surgeon and providing a better life for his family. While pursuing this dream, the man withstood unspeakable discrimination and confronted obstacles, simply because he was an immigrant. While he was an educated man, he did not speak perfect English. As a result, his worth as a human being and a professional was devalued. Rather, he was judged on looks alone and was forced to take any type of employment that would support him and his family - from janitor to factory worker. But he never complained. You see, despite these hard times – he knew that this incredible country would eventually open doors for him and his family. He was right. After 20 years of perseverance, hard work and overcoming many challenges, this man finally accomplished his goal. He became a top surgeon, earning top honors and recognition in the process.
This is the story of one American immigrant and there are millions more similar stories that we all share. But for me, this story is the one that has driven me throughout my life to succeed because this is the story of my father. His strength and passion resonate with me in everything I do. This is what he has left me as his legacy, his American Dream.